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Earlier this week, a tearful Murray broke down several times as he conceded that the Australian Open may be his final tournament, with the severe pain from his right hip having become almost unbearable.
The three-time Grand Slam champion, now ranked 230th in the world, said that he had initially planned to retire after Wimbledon tournament but admitted that he may struggle to continue beyond Melbourne Park, where he faces Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round.
And Federer – who has faced Murray 25 times including the Wimbledon and Olympic finals in 2012 – is hopeful the 31-year-old can push through to SW19.
“I think his body took the decision unfortunately. It must have been a very long couple of years for him. Everyone can understand when he comes from when you feel you can’t get back to 100% and you’ve had the success Andy had,” said Federer.
” I was disappointed and sad, a little bit shocked, to know now that we’re going to lose him at some point.”
“But we’re going to lose everybody at some point. It’s just now that it’s definite. Of course, I hope that he can play a good Australian Open and he can keep playing beyond that, really finish the way he wants to at Wimbledon.”
World number one Novak Djokovic also paid tribute to Murray, saying he was ‘hurt’ to hear the news of his imminent retirement.
Djokovic played a practice match with Murray on Thursday, in which the Serb led 6-1 4-1 before their time was up on court.
“I wasn’t (holding back), no,” Djokovic said. “But I did see it was very obvious for everyone who saw it that he’s struggling. He’s not moving as well as he normally does. We’ve seen so many years of Andy Murray being one of the fittest guys on the tour.
“To that extent we’re kind of similar. Our trajectory in the tennis world was similar. We’ve grown together playing junior events & lots of epic matches. Our games are quite alike.